July 10 – The Ordinary Christian Life


Friends of LPC’s Facebook page know that we’re pretty excited about sharing Sunday’s worship services with Dr. John and Jess Cropsey and their three children. John will bring the message and we’ll talk with Jess some about our Kibuye School projects.

John and Jess Cropsey are mission partners in Burundi, one of the poorest countries on the planet. They lead a team of a dozen or more physicians, educators, and their families called to build a medical school and hospital in a place where almost none exist. They are Christians committed doing whatever they do, in word or in deed, in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through him. Word and Deed is the name of the team’s blog – continually updated and always worth reading. Take a look.

The story of LPC’s friendship with the Cropseys is a story of providential grace all by itself. It began long before we heard John’s and Jess’ names in worship for the first time in June, 2011. For now we’ll just say that God knew what he was doing.

On Sunday we will talk about crayons and teacher supplies, medical equipment and sustaining support. We will ask if there’s more we might do. We will hear about corruption and violence and sight to the blind and good news to the poor. We will see how God still works in our world.

I was not kidding when I told members of the congregation to cancel vacation plans in order to be in worship on Sunday.

Clearly the Cropseys have captured our hearts, and the work God has given them has captured our minds and our imaginations. This is God’s doing. Amazingly – or maybe not so amazingly – as LPC has increased its mission focus and participation, especially with PLM in Guatemala and Hunting Park Christian Academy in North Philadelphia, we have not found our resources depleted or energy exhausted. In fact, energy and resources have been multiplied. Welcome to the LPC family, John, Jess, and Cropsey kids.

You can learn more about the Cropseys and their work at Word and Deed or here at langhornepres.org

One of the many things that impresses me about the Hope Kibuye project and John’s and Jess’ commitment to it comes from this explanation of their vision at the Word and Deed website:

Our 30-year strategic plan envisions this place becoming a national center of medical care and education, expanding to over 300 beds, including surgical, intensive care, emergency, ophthalmology, community health, and NICU services, along with almost everything else you really can’t find anywhere in our region at present.

Maybe this will come to pass through us. Maybe in spite of us. Certainly it’s a task for which we are insufficient in our own strength and capacities. It’s our privilege to be on this journey.

The words that strike me are 30-year, envision, insufficient, and privilege.

30-year: John and Jess and the entire team are not in this for the short term, not for a season of their lives. They are in it for their entire lives and with their whole lives. Their children will be, in John’s words and using a phrase I have just recently learned, “third culture kids.” As John, a third culture kid himself, said, it is is not that “nowhere feels like home, it is that I feel at home everywhere.”

Envision: The prophet Joel tells us that dreams and visions are things of the Holy Spirit. The plan envisioned for Hope Kibuye is just such a thing. It is audacious in its boldness, ambitious in its scope. If you look carefully, you will see God’s fingerprints all over it.

Insufficient: John and Jess and the team are “best and brightest” sorts, no doubt about it. But they acknowledge the insufficiency of their strength and capacities. I hear the words of the Lord to the Apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Privilege: Acknowledging their own insufficiency and claiming faithfulness over success, they declare themselves privileged to be on the journey. And John and Jess, it is a privilege for LPC to share in your journey in small ways.

Total commitment, vision, insufficiency, privilege. John and Jess are witnesses to us not of the missionary life, not of extraordinary sacrifice, not of an extra dose of grace. They are witnesses to us of the ordinary Christian life. John and Jess have been called to live out their discipleship in Burundi; you and I have been called to live out our discipleship in Bucks County. And we are called, no less than John and Jess, to total commitment, God’s vision, an awareness of our own insufficiency, and to the incredible privilege of being on a journey led by the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.